1896 Base Ball Magic Lantern Glass Slide from Puck Magazine

1896 Base Ball Magic Lantern Glass Slide from Puck Magazine

Here's an unusual, early baseball piece and medical piece. It's a black and white political cartoon drawn by Fredrick Opper. Mr. Opper is regarded as one of the pioneers of American newspaper comic strips. 

For nearly 60 years his drawings were used as gag cartoons, magazine covers, political cartoons, and comics. One of those magazines was the famous "Puck", which is where this glass slide originated.

Opper created one of the earliest and most famous comic strips, Happy Hooligan, as well as Alphonse and Gaston.  His cartoons satirized some of the most famous people of the time such as William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt. His artwork also appeared in the Boston American, Chicago Examiner, San Francisco Examiner, and Los Angeles Examiner. In 1899 he accepted a postion offered by William Randolph Hearst with the New York Journal.

Opper was commenting on the prohibition of live baseball newspaper photography. Apparently it was surmised that anyone who wanted to see the game must pay for it. His cartoon incorporated the newly discovered Roentgen Ray as a absurd way for photographers to photograph the game through a solid fence. Named for Wilhelm Roentgen, a German professor of physics, the "Ray's" penetrating abilities were first published in December 1895. This coincides with the May 20, 1896 publication date printed on the slide. "Puck" magazine correctly assumed that public photographs would "firmly establish" baseball's popularity. 

Just as important as the creator of the illustration was the original owner of the slide. Running vertically along the left edge of the glass is a paper label. Printed on it is "G.E. Pfahler, 1930, Chestnut Street, Philadelphia." G.E. Pfahler was a Ph.D. and M.D. and one of the most important members of the American Medical Society, Dr. Pfahler was one of the first to diagnose and treat diseases using the Roentgen Ray and X-ray. He published many papers in several contemporary medical journals on the use of Radium to fight Cancer. This glass slide was originally in the collection of Dr. Pfahler. 

Dr. Pfahler must have placed some significance to the red half sunburst sticker in the lower left corner. Most likely it was a quick way to categorize the slide.

Size: 4¼" x 3¼" x 1/8"

Sold: Nov. 2010

Price Sold: $ 38


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Subject: 1896 Base Ball Magic Lantern Glass Slide from Puck Magazine

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